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Newsletter 15 March 2019
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This week, I had the privilege of attending the ‘Embrace Symposium’, hosted proudly here, at St Benedict’s. It left me feeling particularly proud to be associated with such an incredible team of individuals who organised, attended and presented a conference so significant in content and so relevant in contemporary South African society, with a focus primarily on transforming schools in general through the mechanism of social justice. It left me with the reminder of how important it is that we do not enter any level of complacency, particularly within an educational context where we find ourselves engaging with a generation of boys whose needs have changed markedly through years past. 

Not only was the importance of ensuring that one continuously re-establishes your own individual sense of identity but that you also provide platforms for people / boys to continually grow and develop their own sense of self as they navigate through the complexities of social dynamic. 

As a staff of teachers, we strive to meet weekly to discuss relevant issues associated with developing ourselves professionally and relevantly for the boys and the community we serve. Professional Development within the context of the teaching profession has become somewhat more multi-faceted and perhaps even a little confusing in recent times. The responsibility to adapt methodologies that remain fluid within an ever-evolving system seems more explicitly relevant than ever. The social responsibility, in this context, is even more relevant; teachers and educational leaders more often than not find themselves exercising various expertise in roles that they would never have imagined while completing their tertiary studies. Delivery of core curriculum and its associated assessment practices have become a small part of the jobs that teachers do these days. 

Professional Development, in the Prep School, has taken on a more segmented approach for the start of 2019, encouraging teachers to bring to the fore their ideas on best practice with the objective set to improve upon our existing model as it stands. Currently, teachers in the Prep find themselves serving on a committee focusing in on one of the following broad-based initiatives:

21st Century Learning: investigating character-based educational concepts to produce a programme whereby we look at developing the ideal Bennies Boy related to skills, values, character and attitudes. Self-reflection, critical thinking, engendering curiosity all form part of this challenging brief.

Inquiry-Based Learning: further exploring this particular approach to teaching methodology to further our curriculum in terms of relevance to the 21st Century young boy.

Assessment: investigating assessment practices, differentiation, homework strategies, diagnostic testing and the associated relevance thereof.

Leadership: reviewing current practice and streamlining as necessary as a ‘whole school’ initiative.

Discipline: investigating collaborative, proactive and restorative approaches to discipline within that of our context. 

IQAA: serving on and administrating the internal evaluation process through IQAA (Independent Quality Assurance Agency) taking place in 2019 through the approach of ‘school in a mirror’ to develop a school action plan in terms of our further planning and development.

Aside from the day to day operational elements involved in that of providing a holistic education for our young Bennies boys through striving to deliver on academics, cultural provision, sport and religion, our minds are also focused on that of some ‘big picture’ thinking.  One thing is for certain; as in parenting, educating should be kept as pragmatic as possible so that we don’t end up losing the plot completely. As in parenting, teaching doesn’t necessarily become simpler over time, it becomes ‘different’ over time.

Considering that this is the final newsletter before the approaching respite of a long weekend, I would like to wish you all a peaceful time with family where we are reminded of the deep significance of Human Rights Day on 21 March. If you are travelling then, please do so safely.

B QUINN

SPORT AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Please consult the sports planner for details regarding venues and times

GRADE 7 STORYTELLING HOUR

 Next Wednesday (the 20 March) is World Storytelling Day.  The Grade 7’s are very excited to be invited across the road to our Junior Prep. We will be going across the road during our last lesson of the day.  Each group of boys has been given some fun, easy storybooks to read.  We ask if they could please dress up according to the theme of the books they have been given.  We looking forward to a fun 45 minutes reading and getting to our know our junior boys.

MERITS OF THE WEEK

B QUINN

HEADMASTER

 
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